A senior bureaucrat has alleged racial discrimination and rude behaviour by the British Airways, which allegedly deplaned him and his family from a flight to Berlin from London on July 23 minutes before take-off because his three-year-old son was crying onboard.

The bureaucrat wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on August 3 and alleged that another Indian family, sitting behind them, was also offloaded as they offered biscuits to the child to console him. He has also written a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in this regard.

He has claimed that he complained to British Airways apprising the company about the incident, but hasn’t received any reply yet.

The bureaucrat has alleged that the crew got the plane (BA 8495) to return to the tarmac, where the security personnel took their boarding passes away. The customer care service manager did not give reasons for offloading them nor the management took action against the crew despite lodging a complaint, he claimed.

“We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a very hefty amount,” he said, adding that the other Indian family was given tickets for a flight the next day, without any accommodation though, according to PTI.

The bureaucrat is a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Reacting to the incident, a British Airways spokesperson said, “We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have started a full investigation and are in contact with the customer.”

The PTI report added that an “aggrieved” crew member allegedly approached the family and started scolding the boy, asking him to get back to his seat. The boy had a window seat, but the mother had taken him into her arms to console him.

“With this unusual behaviour of the male crew member, my son got terrified and started crying intensively. My wife again put the boy on his designated seat and fastened the seat-belt, even though he kept on crying intensively being in a terrified state of mind due to the scolding by the male crew member,” the officer wrote to Prabhu.

The officer has demanded a thorough investigation and strictest possible action against the British Airways staff.

(With agency inputs)